The Lens

Is It Ever “Just Entertainment”?

February 12, 2015

For Harriet, a society and culture site whose provocative perspectives I enjoy pondering, posted this article discussing the character Mary Jane Paul played by Gabrielle Union in her hit show Being Mary Jane currently airing weekly on BET. The premise of the article was an examination of the polarizing opinions of the character, asking if whether or not the criticism of Mary Jane was based on Black women’s shame and disgust at seeing their own flaws and issues splayed on screen week after week. Through a conversation on Facebook, asking the same question, many folks, both men and women, weighed in. The responses were a mix of thoughtful, funny, plaintive and at times dismissive but there was one refrain heard ever so often in the feed that just got me thinking. It was the idea that the very nature of such a conversation was taking things too seriously. “It’s just a show,” they said. “It’s just entertainment,” they interjected when the comments became too self reflective. “Is it really that serious?” they mocked. So. Are they right? Do the reflections we see of our likeness depicted in fictional television characters communicate anything about ourselves? Can we objectively view television shows and walk away simply entertained? Is it ever just entertainment? Leave a comment below, tweet, or hit us up on Facebook with your thoughts @thebeautifulprj!



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